Being a local business comes with challenges which large national companies do not face. If your business is trying to grow into a national company or just become more established in your local area, there are some key challenges which come with business growth. Understanding how best to overcomes the challenges could make a significant difference to your business.
One of the best ways to learn is by understanding the success of others and observing how they overcame similar challenges to you. This goes for all aspects of life, not just business. From a business viewpoint, however, it can be challenging to find companies which are in similar areas to yours, but there are lessons which can be learned from companies in any sector.
A company which has found sustained success as a local business is Scottish used car retailer I and K Motors. Founded in 1983 by Steve Innes the company now operates from their two locations in Inverurie.
I and K Director Bill Duncan, who has been with the company since 2008 but has worked in the motor industry for over 30 years, understands the importance for a local business to engage with the community in which they work. Having the support of the local community can not only help sales but also provide support in challenging times. Furthermore with business to business trading being an integral part of local business success, having connections to draw on can be highly beneficial. “We find it extremely important to interact with the local community here in Aberdeenshire. We are part of the local business community as well as supporting local sports teams, charities and local events,” Mr Duncan said.
Ensuring that your business is known to the local community by engaging with them is one of the key ways of generating customers and overcoming the costs of traditional paid advertising. This then helps growing businesses manage costs as the business grows.
For businesses in all sectors, the internet has become a crucial part of day-to-day operations and sales. A company providing a range of used cars which customers would be interested in, needs to have a digital presence to be able to cover a broad target audience and display their vehicles.
Possibly the hardest challenge any local business must overcome is the competition from larger national companies operating in the same sector. For I and K Motors, this is particularly true with used car websites being a very popular way to source a used car.
Mr Duncan acknowledged that the I and K Motors website had helped the business in its crowded marketplace, but also that “we find people want to deal with people and the majority won’t travel too far.” Understanding the needs of your customers is a crucial factor in any business’s ability to grow.
Further evidence of the dominance of national businesses is the lowering number of independent, family-owned businesses operating in all markets, including the motor industry. “The independents do seem to be vanishing,” Mr Duncan said. However, I and K Motors have understood how to turn this to their advantage by making this a unique selling point of their business.
When experiencing growth as a local business, it can often be easy to get caught up in the rush of bringing in new clients. As a local business, however, it is vitally important not to forget about existing and longstanding clients who have helped the business grow.
Mr Duncan explained that “we have some fantastic contacts that we have built up over the last 35 plus years.” Furthermore, being a business which does interact with the local community has allowed I and K to enjoy the benefits of repeat customers over the years. “We have many loyal local customers,” said Mr Duncan, “and these customers bring in their families too.”
Finding the balance between searching for new customers and servicing existing ones can be challenging for businesses in manufacturing areas where a product is made and limitations on production apply. For a used car business, the task is much simpler as it relates only to the procurement of used cars to sell to new or existing customers. However, the goal of producing a long-standing client relationship is the same in any industry.
I and K motors have demonstrated that; by engaging with the local community, having a website to reach customers but not forgetting the importance of face-to-face interaction and maintaining longstanding client links while developing new ones can allow a local business to overcome some key challenges when experiencing growth. These actions can be transferred across any business sector and applied to a variety of growing local businesses to help them succeed.
Written by I&K Motors, an experienced used car dealership located outside Aberdeen in Scotland. For more information visit their website here.